* Introduction * History * Spring Tour * Other Seasons * Fruit and Vegetables * Herbs * Work * Family * Links * * Design Elements * SPECIMENS * Companions * TIPS * GARDEN FURNITURE * Winter Spring Tour Summer Fall Winter Gardening Winter More Winter Winter Gardening What Blooms Here in January? Winter Paths More in Bamboo Garden, Azalea Garden/Orchard, The Native Garden

Winter can be a beautiful season in the garden, but it is quite different from other times. Those who try to recreate spring and summer with too much blooming will likely be disappointed. A few plants will flower, but their beauty lies in sparseness rather than profusion. The dominant effects of cold weather and short days can be cultivated rather than struggled over.

The first requirement for enjoying winter gardening is not plants or equipment, but suitable clothing. Maslow tells us that in the hierarchy of human needs, the higher ones will not emerge if the lower ones are frustrated. Aesthetic enjoyment is impossible when you are cold. On the other hand, if your hands and feet and everything else are toasty and dry, even a walk in a winter storm can be an exhilarating experience. I wear ski gloves. Amazingly tough, with stitching that doesn't rot like most work gloves, they last me about four winters. Insulated rubber boots are absolutely dry and warm. Rather than a heavy coat, I wear a windproof shell over up to three layers of thin Polartec. The layers are easy to adjust as temperatures rise or exertion increases. A waterproof, insulated hat that can cover my ears completes the strange picture.

Now that you are ready to venture out, what are the experiences and tasks well suited to winter?

For experiences, I like to walk, sit on benches, and look at plants up close. (After observing Moscow women enjoying themselves on park benches in frigid weather most Northwesterners wouldn't go out in, I realized dressing right opens up a new world.) Some of the sights that interest me are mosses, bark, lichens, and small details that can be overwhelmed by leaves and flowers. I like to look through the silhouettes of deciduous trees to winter skies. Often, the low sun angles create luminous colors not seen at other times of the year. I like to watch all the birds, not just on the feeders, but in the plants and on the ground. And finally, I like to experience the winter weather--the wind, the snow, the downpours, and the fog.

Winter is also for enjoying work. Some tasks, such as building garden furniture, are done only because now there is time. Others, such as transplanting, are saved since it is the best time.

Winter here is a good time to spread new gravel on paths, mulch the rhododendrons, and design new beds and pocket gardens,

It is also the best time to work on this website.